According to a report from The Hockey News, the NHL has already received five requests for expansion applications since opening the process officially on Monday. They have reportedly received requests from Las Vegas, Quebec City, Toronto, and two from Seattle.
Wait, what was that last bit? You heard right, the league has apparently received requests from Ray Bartoszek, as expected, but also one from none other than Victor Coleman. According to the report, Coleman fully intends to apply by the July 20 deadline.
Last night, KING5's Chris Daniels reported that Coleman and Sonics Arena investor Chris Hansen had exchanged proposals as recently as last week, but that no deal was imminent. Hansen, of course, has a Memorandum of Understanding with the city of Seattle that requires him to secure an NBA team before public financing can be activated for the arena. Coleman, Hansen, and the Seattle City Council are working towards an NHL-first alteration to that document that appeases all parties. Coleman said back in April that he was going to look for "an alternative partner," but appears to have backed down from that stance now.
Of course, if the Milwaukee Bucks actually do relocate to Seattle, as team president Peter Feigin opined could happen, no alteration to the MOU would be necessary. Could Coleman re-entering the SODO arena picture have anything to do with that? It's still too early to tell, and it's possible that Coleman and Hansen have potentially come to some kind of agreement and just need to take it to the City Council. Either way, it's nice to see Coleman back in the fray and moving forward towards some sort of resolution for the SODO arena project.
The Hockey News' report also suggests that there is not one, but two possible groups looking into building an arena in Bellevue. The report does not name any names, however. Either way, it appears as if there is a ton of interesting in bringing the NHL here, and it just remains a matter of getting an arena built.
It also turns out that the venture will be much more expensive than originally thought. According to the Seattle Times' Geoff Baker, the expansion price is no longer the $1 million nonrefundable deposit, it's actually much... much more.
That's a serious chunk of change and it will be interesting to see how that effects the (allegedly) four groups vying to bring a team to the Seattle area. Let's hope all of them are serious, because competition will drive all of them to work that much harder.